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Meet Mike Smith

The Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Maps

Meet the Editor

We sat down with our Editor-In-Chief, Mike Smith, to ask a few questions about the Journal of Maps, including his experience of open access, and what the journal can do for authors looking to publish maps and spatial diagrams. Here is what he had to say.

How did the Journal of Maps come into being?

During my PhD I used satellite imagery to digitize the outlines of glacial landforms, subsequently producing a map of this work. I wanted to publish the map but realized there was no peer-reviewed academic journal that readily accepted maps. So, we started a new journal!

What is the reason for publishing a journal that covers such a broad range of spatial diagrams and maps?

Whilst cartography is an academic discipline in itself, there isn't a readily available forum for publishing academic maps. We find academics are passionate about the production of spatial outputs, and particularly maps, in and of itself. It is an important and valid academic output and we therefore serve the whole community of map makers across all disciplines that wish to publish their work.

This content you’re publishing has huge scope, what’s the most innovative paper you’ve seen?

Whilst we publish beautifully designed static maps, we are seeing cartographers making dramatic innovations in the development of interactive online maps. The best example is the winner of our 2016 Best Map award for “Interactive video maps: A year in the life of Earth's CO2” by Jenny et al. It plays a video of Earth's CO2 overlaid on a map projection of the Earth – so far so normal. However, it is also fully zoomable, rotatable and pannable, whilst playing the video, all within your browser. It is simply overwhelming to begin with, then allows you to spatially and temporally explore this mammoth dataset.

Going forward, what subject areas are you most excited to cover in the journal?

Given my research interests, there has been a number of submissions of papers from the physical sciences (geomorphology and geology). However, we also publish a range of social science work which the Journal of Maps is a natural home for. Our vision is for academics to realize the full potential of their spatial outputs and for us to service the publishing needs of these communities. I’m most excited about the potential for areas such as medical imaging, archaeology, politics, art, history and landscape architecture as there are strong spatial elements to the work in these areas.

How do authors benefit from publication in the journal?

Our authors typically have a natural affinity with maps. They produce them not only because they are part of the projects they work on but also because they enjoy making maps. It is a natural outcome of their work. As a result, we offer a peer-reviewed, citable, citation listed, publishing outlet for them. It also brings specific recognition for this aspect of their research.

Is there a benefit to being open access and if so, how does that help authors?

Quite simply, the exposure of your work. Open access means your work is freely distributable, which has meant a ten-fold increase in downloads at the Journal of Maps. Not only is that good for how far your work can “reach”, it also means that access to new research, and so its dissemination, is quicker. As a reader it’s easier to find the latest research and that is particularly important for low income regions where access to research can be problematic.

What support can you give authors and researchers who are hoping to publish in your journal?

With the benefits of Open Access comes the requirement for authors to pay an Article Publishing Charge (APC) upon acceptance of a paper. The Journal of Maps has long sought to support the cartographic community and, as a result, the charge is competitive. In addition, check if your institution or country qualifies for fee waivers.

We can offer advice to authors who are preparing to submit a manuscript. The Journal of Maps is primarily about the submission of a map! Please look at material we have published, and guide to authors, along with a document outlining common map making errors. Most of our authors are not professional cartographers, but are highly capable. However, if the map does not meet our minimum standard it may get rejected. If in doubt, please check with us or hire a professional cartographer.

How can someone who would like to publish in the Journal of Maps go about doing so?

Understand who we are – look at the maps and manuscripts we publish to see the scope of the journal. The primary point of interest is the map so make that your focus, with a short accompanying article explaining why it was produced, how the data was collected and mapped, along with key points of discussion. For research papers that simply have accompanying figures we will suggest they submit to a subject specific journal. If in doubt, please ask us!

Click on the options below to read our Aims & Scope, Instructions for Authors or to submit your manuscript now. 

Aims & Scope Instructions for Authors Submit Now 

Editor's Choice

Mike has chosen a selection of popular recent articles from the journal below. To submit your research to Journal of Maps, read our Aims & Scope, Instructions for Authors, or Submit your research now.

Feeling inspired?

If you're feeling inspired to publish your research in the Journal of Maps, click on the options below to find out more. 

Aims & Scope Instructions for Authors Submit Now 

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